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Tap and pay with FNB’s new app

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First National Bank (FNB) this week unveiled the FNB Banking App 5.0, which features new solutions like FNB Pay, Fingerprint ID, Secure Chat, Smart inContact, 1-touch Report Fraud, as well as the FNB Watch App.

Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO says the bank views the App as a gateway into the future of banking. “The App is designed to solve for crucial customer needs such as more control of one’s bank account, cost-saving, better security and the need to bank anywhere, anytime.

“The intuitive new features of App 5.0 are a clear demonstration of how we are prioritising customer needs.  This platform also puts us in a much better position to continue capitalising on the seamless convergence of banking and telecoms, to produce integrated solutions,” he says.

The distinctive and pioneering feature of FNB App 5.0 is FNB Pay, a globally accepted contactless payment solution which allows customers to purchase goods by simply tapping their smartphone on a contactless enabled point of sale terminal. A first in Africa, FNB Pay enables customers to quickly and conveniently purchase goods below R200 without entering their card PIN. Customers have options on how they can securely perform transactions through FNB Pay.

Raj Makanjee, FNB Premium CEO says, “As of today, FNB customers with an NFC enabled Android device can download the latest version of the FNB App and start making purchases at any contactless payment terminal. Once FNB App 5.0 has been downloaded, the customer automatically gets FNB Pay and can link it to any of their FNB cards.”

“The timing is perfect for contactless technology in South Africa as local merchants are gradually increasing contactless infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why 100% of the new or replacement cards we are now issuing are contactless cards across our Debit and Credit portfolios. Not only does the functionality make it effortless for customers to pay for goods and services, it helps merchants to process transactions far quicker, thus assisting in reducing queues,” adds Makanjee.

With fraud being a global concern for clients that use digital platforms, FNB App 5.0 brings industry-leading security features to enable customers to detect and report fraud. The industry first inContact solution has evolved to introduce Smart InContact, which notifies customers of transactions as low as one cent, with full control to report fraud with 1-touch of the Smart inContact notification to the 24/7 FNB Fraud line.

Smart inContact also replaces SMS OTPs as a secure way to approve, reject or report fraud for any Online Banking transactions. Logins from unknown or suspicious devices also trigger a Smart inContact notification for the customer to verify or reject the device. This is built off the existing intelligence of FNB’s systems to notify customers of potentially risky transactions or devices accessing their profiles, allowing them take control to approve or reject these transactions. Customers without FNB App 5.0 will continue to receive SMS notifications and OTPs until they download or update to the latest version of the app.

App users can now authenticate themselves through Fingerprint ID available to both Android and iPhone owners, which uses a fingerprint sensor to verify the user before giving access to the account profile.

FNB clients who qualify for premier and private banking services will also be able to use Secure Chat to enquire about services or send instructions to their private banking support team, all done through the App after securely logging in.  Secure Chat gives customers 24/7 banking support without the risks of phishing or identity theft.

Another exciting revelation is the FNB Watch App, which extends key features of the FNB Banking App onto an Android or Apple smartwatch.  To signify the launch of the Watch App, FNB customers get up to 40% discount when purchasing a smartwatch via the eBucks Online shop.

“All these features have enhanced the FNB Banking App both from a functionality and most importantly, security point of view.  The growing active-user base and global accolades of the App attest to the compelling proposition of the platform. App 5.0 will go a long way towards improving customer experience, making banking easier, safer and convenient,” says Makanjee

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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